When I finished my first book (I typed the last sentence at the end of November 2016), I decided to give myself two months to figure out how to release it. I consider myself a pretty quick learner when it comes to tech, but there was a lot more to it than I could have ever anticipated. There are two key things you need to do after you’re done writing: one is format and the other is market.But I’m not going to get too detailed on that today. Today, I’m going to tell you the things I did right and the things I did wrong in the two months between the time I finished the first in my book series, Rising Saints High, and release day. Hopefully, you won’t make the same mistakes I did.
The things I did RIGHT:
- Build a website. As I wrote my book I’d take breaks and build my website.
- Start a Twitter account. Twitter is one of those things that some authors swear by and others place no value in. Bella Forest, one of the top ten ranked authors on Amazon, almost never tweets as opposed to J.K. Rowling who tweets continuously all on her own content everyday. I use Twitter to promote my books, but even more so, I use it to research other authors and I do find good content to help me as a writer now and then.
- Join an in-person writers’ group. I did this at my local library and these folks really have no issues handing out criticism, which you need. They will tell you the truth if something sucks or not.
- Join an online author team. Being a writer is lonely. You need motivation and you need people to learn from. You can join an author team for FREE through BooksGoSocial.
- Find and pay for a detailed book review. I know, I know, this site is supposed to be all about FREE, but I wanted a genuine review-not from someone I knew, not from someone who’d I’d have to coax into reading my manuscript, but a legitimate and thorough reviewer who handed out as many low star reviews as high star reviews. It was my first book, and I really had no idea where I fell in terms of what worked and where I needed help.
Things I, apparently, did WRONG and will probably do AGAIN because I’m broke:
- Not hiring an editor. Sorry, couldn’t afford it…the $2000 price tag. I solely relied on my experience of writing at least a hundred various theses papers over the last decade. But my adviser did mention to me that I was “the only person who could write at a masters graduate level.” (Hmm, I wonder how many other students she said that too at her salary). Because I didn’t chose poverty over price; poverty just won due to all my student loans. I admit, I still find plenty of problems with my published manuscript.
- Not getting beta readers. Seriously, I still don’t understand what the term “beta reader” means. If the reader thinks it sucks, then you “beta” fix? What if the betas contradict one another? BTW, I think beta reader really is just another word for a critic, but you can’t apply that terminology because it puts them under pressure. If your critics say the same thing…then you need change something to make them happy. Uh…my husband read it. My daughter did too. They loved it but had totally opposing opinions. But I’m guessing they don’t count.
- Not leaving my new release alone. That’s right. When you publish your first book to Amazon, you need leave it alone for a couple weeks. It’s not really a release. You don’t market it until after you have reviewers and its been sitting around on Amazon for a little while because there will be issues.
- Not having an awesome book cover. I could never decide on a book cover, so I tried designing different ones and used Fiverr (don’t get me started on that! I have a review on it). But I wanted to release the book even though I knew my cover wasn’t exactly eye catching or matching within my genre. I didn’t know that your book cover is your number one advertisement! The manuscript may be ready, but your book is not until the cover is too.
- Not holding back on marketing. Yep, I paid money to market. Don’t do that till after you have a few reviews.
I hope you won’t make my mistakes, and if you made some of your own not mentioned, let me know. Mistakes really should be spelled Mi$take$$$! More money…oh, the horror!